Belfast, N. Ireland


11–14 November 2013

Build is a design festival for web designers

For the past five years, an intimate community of smart, talented people have come together to share ideas, tell stories, and get their hands dirty. Let’s do it again, one last time.

Mon / 11th

Opening Night

It’s the first night of an action-packed week, so let’s get together in the company of a few friends, and catch up over a beer or two.

6pm – Late
  • 6pm

    Typecast Open House

    Typecast Hq

    Chill out with our friends at Typecast, meet fellow attendees and enjoy the local craic as you fill up on tasty grub and free drinks. Now that’s what we call a warm welcome to our city. Drop by their studio and join the festivities.

  • 9pm

    Dribbble Meetup

    Aether & Echo

    Grab a pen and paper (and some slick Dribbble swag to go with it), and join us for a night of sketching. You post your best work to Dribbble, and we’ll give out prizes to the best shots, including a brand new Wacom Bamboo tablet.

Tue / 12th


Grab a slice of pizza, some popcorn, and settle into our beanbag cinema for an evening of design documentaries, and one of the best cult sci-fi films ever made.

6pm – Late
The Black Box
  • 6pm

    Sign Painters

    Dir., Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, 2012

    Sign Painters, the first anecdotal history of the craft of sign painting, features the stories of more than two dozen dedicated practitioners, their time-honored methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship, working in cities throughout the United States.

  • 7:30pm

    Design Is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli

    Dir., Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra, 2012

    Leaders on the frontline of the design profession, the Vignellis continue to be mentors to other designers. Design Is One brings us into the work and everyday moments of the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity and humor.

  • 9pm


    Dir., Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder, 2013

    Stripped is a love-letter to comic strips, including over 90 interviews with the world’s best cartoonists to talk about the art form they love, why it’s so beloved, how they’re navigating this dicey period between print and digital, and what happens to it as newspapers die.

  • 10:30pm

    Blade Runner: Final Cut

    Dir., Ridley Scott, 1982

    In a cyberpunk vision of the future, Rick Deckard is a Blade Runner, a cop who specializes in terminating replicants, human clones but with fixed lifespans. When four escape from an off-world colony to Earth, he reluctantly agrees to one more assignment to hunt them down.

Wed / 13th


Get your hands dirty and learn something new at our pick ‘n’ mix lineup of mini-workshops, each exploring a practice with a rich history of process and craft.

10am – Late


  • 10–3pm

    Day Trip: Whiskey Distilling

    Bushmills Distillery · Pickup at The National

    Take a tour of The Old Bushmills Distillery, the world-renowned Irish distillery founded in 1608, and learn from the hundred year old history of Bushmills. You’ll have a chance to explore, learn about the distilling process, and end your tour with a dram of premium Irish whiskey.

  • 10–3pm

    Day Trip: Mountain Bicycle Trek

    Mourne Mountains · Pickup at The National

    The Mourne Mountains, the highest range in Northern Ireland, are a natural marvel, deep with history and hidden sights. We’ll head out on bicycles for a leisurely exploration of the mountains, Game of Thrones fans may even spot a few familiar locations.

  • 10–11am

    Morning Yoga

    Yoga Inspired

    Ease into the day with a private class of Vinyasa Flow, a creative and evolving form of yoga which take puts your breath in command of a whole body experience. (Beginners welcome. No need to pack your yoga pants, casual clothing is a-ok.)

  • 11–12:30pm / 1:30–3pm / 3:30–5pm

    Metalcraft & Blacksmithing

    St. Anne’s Square

    One of the most historic and time-honoured skills, we’ll be joined by accomplished blacksmith Eamonn Higgins, who’ll teach you how to work with steel. You’ll even get to make a your own steel hexnut to take home.

  • 12-2pm

    Coffee Tasting

    The MAC (The Works)

    Join award-winning barista Mark “Mash” Ashbridge from Belfast’s Established Coffee for an intense round of coffee tasting, cupping your way through a diverse mix of roasts from around the world.

  • 12–2pm / 3–5pm

    Ableton Masterclass

    The MAC (The Hub)

    Ableton Live is considered the industry standard in digital audio workstation software. Learn how to produce your own unique mixes with expert Graham Ginty from Giga Training.

  • 2–6:30pm

    Rumble Labs Open House

    Rumble Labs HQ

    Join local development shop Rumble Labs for a game of table tennis or some Mario Kart, or steal a quiet desk in the corner to get some work done. Bonus: from 5pm onwards they’ll host an evening of attendee-led lightning talks.

  • 2–5pm

    Needlecraft & Yarnbombing

    Cafe at The MAC

    Grab a cup of tea and settle in for a casual stitch n’ bitch session, focussed on cross-stitch and knitting, with a view to yarn bomb the Cathedral Quarter later in the afternoon.

  • 2–5pm

    Tabletop & Board Games

    Cafe at The MAC

    Rory O’Connor, of Rory’s Story Cubes and The Extraordinaires, will lay host to a competitive afternoon of the top card, board, and RPG tabletop games. Die provided.

  • 3–5pm

    Cocktail Making

    The Malmaison Hotel (Malbar)

    As any previous Build attendee will attest, The Malmaison Hotel is home to one of the best cocktail bars in the city. Put on your bowtie and waistcoat, and learn how to make some classic cocktails with a resident expert.

  • 3–5pm

    Fermentation & Food Preservation

    The MAC (The Works)

    Rediscover the lost skill of culturing & fermenting your foods. Learn the simple techniques and extensive benefits of this practice, and bring what you learn straight back to your own kitchen.


  • 7pm – late

    3rd Annual Craft Beer Festival

    The Hudson Bar (Ground floor)

    The ground floor of the Hudson is host to our legendary craft beer festival, featuring a sampling of the finest small batch and independently produced beers from across the UK & Ireland.

  • 7–10pm

    The Standardistas’ Open Book Exam

    The Hudson Bar (1st floor)

    Upstairs, join Chris & Nik from The Standardistas for the final Open Book Exam, our unique pub quiz, requiring you to avail of the web’s wealth of knowledge to answer the quiz’s formidable questions.

  • 10pm – late

    Johann Sebastian Joust Tournament

    The Hudson Bar (1st floor)

    Johann Sebastian Joust is a video game without graphics, a mix of battle and dance, where 2 to 7 players have to keep their motion-sensing Move controllers still and try to knock off their opponents at the same time in a fun and frenetic battle to be the last man standing.

  • 10pm – late

    Build Music

    The Hudson Bar (2nd floor)

    This year, Music returns to close out Wednesday, featuring Chipzel, an independent chiptunes musician who uses Gameboys to create energetic, melodic dance tracks, some of which you might already have heard on Super Hexagon’s OST. Support from Casion.

Thu / 14th


At the heart of Build is our conference, this year taking place in a brand new venue, The MAC. Watch and listen as six of our industry’s brightest minds explore what we do and who we are as designers.

10am – 5pm
  • 10:00am

    Opening Remarks

  • 10:15am

    David Cole

    Applied Discovery

    Over the next years, interactive designers will continue to broaden their domain and expand their responsibility. Owning an increasingly large share of the process means our traditional principles and approaches become decreasingly applicable. To continue producing our best work, we must reconsider fundamental aspects of design: our principles, our methods of evaluation, and our sources of inspiration.

    About David

    David Cole has spent most of his design career working on interactive products. Currently a product designer at Quora, David was formerly a founder of Sleepover, a design studio focusing on boutique and experimental online publishing. He’s also previously worked for Disrupto, Etherpad, Disqus, and Fluther.

  • 10:55am


  • 11:20am

    Nicole Fenton

    Writing for Beginners

    The beginner’s mind is eager to learn and open to possibilities. That’s the sort of approach we need as designers: a playful, messy, and curious one. So let’s talk about writing as a practice and a way forward—as something beginners do. We’ll explore how writing and design relate to each other, work through the difficulties of communicating, and find new places to begin.

    About Nicole

    Nicole Fenton is an independent writer and editor. She previously led content projects at Facebook and the Apple Online Store. Her writing appears in Contents, Offscreen, and Web Standards Sherpa. Nicole lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their incredibly small dog.

  • 12:00pm

    Paul Soulellis


    The promise of branding and code has transformed the way we work and think. Speed, ubiquity, instantaneity—and perfection—are design’s new values. We’ve absorbed code’s ideals so deeply that we’re driven to perform to unrealistic standards. What does an act of resistance look like in design culture today? Opening up to slowness, non-narrative experience and chance encounters is a way to counter the acceleration, and give way to the sublime.

    About Paul

    Paul Soulellis is an artist and creative director, maintaining his studio in Long Island City, NY. He founded the strategic design firm Soulellis Studio in 2001 and has produced award-winning work for clients like TED, Cornell University, Esri and the Rockefeller Foundation. He also curates Library of the Printed Web, teaches an experimental book studio at Purchase College, and participates in book fairs internationally. His written work has appeared in The Manual and Communication Arts.

  • 12:40pm

    Lunch (Provided)

  • 2:30pm

    Leslie Jensen-Inman

    Designing to Learn

    We’ve reached a point where non-designers understand the value of design. This has lead to an increase in demand for design talent. In the past, we would have turned to institutions of higher education to help us find new talent, however, today’s graduates often finish school without the skills they need to thrive in a professional design setting.

    There is a massive gap between what students learn and what industry needs. This skills gap leaves graduates unable to find jobs and hiring companies unable to find talent. How we approach this challenge will affect the continued relevance and value of design.

    About Leslie

    Dr. Leslie Jensen-Inman is a designer, speaker, author, and educator. She connects industry, education, and community. Leslie is Co-founder of the Unicorn Institute, where she works to improve the state of design education. Creative Director and Co-Author of InterACT with Web Standards: A holistic approach to web design, Leslie has written articles for publications such as A List Apart, The Pastry Box, Ladies in Tech, and .net Magazine.

  • 3:10pm

    Jason Scott

    The City On The Edge Of Whatever

    The era of the Hot Internet Startup has been joined by the era of the Hot Internet Shutdown. Not content to enjoy a slow fade, online worlds and sites die in flaming wreckage, short warning, and permanent, irrevocable erasure. That’s the story, but it doesn’t have to end there. A growing collection of people are asking the tough questions, demanding action, and changing where the end lies. Let’s talk about our relationship with these computers and their storage, and what your online world means when someone switches it off.

    About Jason

    Jason Scott is the “free-range archivist” at the Internet Archive, where he reaches out to the world and lets them know there’s a non-profit dedicated to saving petabytes of the Internet and digital content. Sometimes he does it very loudly indeed. He is also a documentary filmmaker, historian, and irritant.

  • 3:50pm


  • 4:10pm

    Frank Chimero

    What Screens Want

    Screens are the primary material of interaction and interface design. We’ve been talking about what it means to design natively for screens for ages, but with the prevalence of touch screens and the redesign of iOS, the topic has been rekindled with more passion. Unfortunately, discussion has devolved into a pendulum swing between “flat design” and skeuomorphic approaches, because we haven’t taken the time to consider what screens want. Screens, of course, don’t have desires, but every material does have a grain, and that grain suggests the material’s identity and the best way to use it. So, what if we listened to screens, considered their origin, and searched for patterns? And what if they told us the way forward had nothing to do with how things looked?

    About Frank

    Frank Chimero is a designer and writer from New York. His 2010 Build talk, The Shape of Design, turned into a book by the same name.

  • 4:50pm

    Closing Remarks

  • 7:00pm

    After Party

    21 Social

    After you’ve had the chance to get some dinner, come grab a well-earned pint and wind-down at the after-party at 21 Social. We’ll keep the music down low and the drinks flowing all night.



Build takes place in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, its cobbled streets and alleys lined with studios, galleries, venues, pubs, and restaurants. Listed are some of our favorite places to eat, drink, and be merry, all within walking distance.

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The Malmaison Hotel

The true heart of Build. Expect to find the hotel bar filled each night with attendees, sinking Old Fashioneds like they’re going out of style.

Ramada Encore

Part of St. Annes Square, and opposite The MAC, you really couldn’t be in a better spot. Oh, and free wifi for all Build attendees.

Premier Inn

Where everything’s premier but the price, according to Lenny Henry. Just around the corner from the week’s venues, too.


Café at The MAC

One of few spots in the area that serves breakfast, open from 9am especially for Build attendees. Lots of booth seating, free wifi, and decent coffee.

The Black Box

A favourite from last year, The Black Box will be open and serving coffee and lunch all week. Free wifi and large tables make it a great spot to plant.


A gift store on the ground floor, upstairs hosts a fantastic canteen-style deli, and a phenomenal sit-in cafe/restaurant. Great breakfast menu too.


The Hudson Bar

A newcomer since last year. Easily one of the best bars in the city, with a priority on delicious craft beers and delicious chicken wings.

Duke of York

Should be top of the list for those visiting Belfast seeking a good pint of Guinness. Also home to the most extensive whiskey list in the city.

The John Hewitt

Quintessential Irish bar, lively with traditional music almost every night of the week. Wide range of local and international beers. Great craic.

The Merchant Cocktail Bar

Inarguably one of the best cocktail bars in the world, housed in the five-star luxury Merchant Hotel. A must visit for any cocktail connoisseur.

Pub Grub

McHughs Bar & Restaurant

While the ground floor is home to a great pub, there’s also an excellent restaurant upstairs, most well-known for its black rock steaks, served uncooked on a 430˚ volcanic rock.

Alley Cat

Another addition since last year, Alley Cat has made itself known for its burgers, hot dogs, beers, and cocktails. Try the Pig Out burger.

The Garrick

Well known for its bottled beer selection, The Garrick also does a mean pub lunch. The chicken club sandwich is out of this world.

21 Social

Also home to our Conference after-party, the ground floor restaurant serves a great mix of your usual pub-grub faire, at the highest standard.



New since last year, chef Tony O’Neill brings his take on Italian casual dining to the Cathedral Quarter. One of the best restaurants in the city.

Made In Belfast

Another favourite of regular Build attendees, Made in Belfast prides itself on being alternative, using fresh local produce to create a unique spin on classic dishes.

Le Coop

New from the team behind Made In Belfast, this new spot specialises in chicken, free range and rotisserie. Everything is great, but don’t leave without sampling the deep-fried mac and cheese.


How could you visit a harbour town without eating some seafood, and Tedfords is by far the best. A little pricy, but easily one of the best meals you’ll eat in Belfast.

Little Wing Pizzeria

Belfast isn’t especially well known for it’s pies, Little Wing is oven-fired pizza done right. If you stay for dessert, don’t miss the Nutella pizza.


Phenomenal smokey barbecue, with a heavy American influence. Slather everything in Carolina mustard sauce and you can't go wrong.


Infamous. Belfast’s take on the burrito bar, bringing casual homemade-style Mexican food to Ireland for the first time. Anything with the pulled pork spells victory.

Tao Noodle Bar (University of Ulster)

Part of the University of Ulster, so you’ll find it cheap and cheerful. Belfast isn’t especially well known for its ramen, but you’ll find some tasty options here.